Sex dreams are natural. If you’re curious about the root cause, there are strategies that can help.

A sex dream about a boss can take you by surprise, but you’re not alone.

Dreaming about sex with others is common. Your dreams are just one of the many ways your brain processes emotional experiences and challenges.

In some cases, a sex dream can have a deeper meaning that’s worth exploring.

Sex dreams can mean different things depending on the situation, says Emma Kobil, a licensed professional counselor in Denver, Colorado.

“Sex dreams may allow us to ‘act out’ experiences with someone or explore deep-seated fears and desires,” she says. “They may be a way for our brains to understand the importance of boundaries, or they may be alerting us to a sexual or romantic desire.”

You may experience sex dreams about your:

  • boss
  • co-worker
  • current partner
  • former partner
  • friend
  • stranger

Keep in mind that sex dreams aren’t always about sex, adds Kobil.

“They may be alerting us to creative desires inside of us, a need to feel vital and joyful, or to qualities that we would like to possess,” she says. “A person should check in with themselves to see what feels true for them about their dream.”

There’s limited research on erotic dreams. But a 2019 online study suggests that your dreams may have a sexual theme 18% of the time. Research from 2022 found that males reported having erotic dreams more often than women.

Your relationship status may have little influence on how often you dream about sex, according to a 2020 study.

Some possible causes include:

There’s no one-size-fits-all explanation.

“We tend to dream about people and things in our lives,” Kobil says. “It’s possible that a one-off sex dream about your boss is a fairly coincidental experience that you don’t need to read much into.”

Kobil explains, “The dream may also be alerting you to the importance of maintaining boundaries in a boss-employee relationship. A sex dream about a boss may also indicate that you want to possess some of the qualities your boss possesses.”

Of course, it could also mean that you have romantic or sexual feelings for your boss, says Dr. Lee Phillps, a psychotherapist and certified sex and couples therapist in Virginia and New York.

But if that’s not it, “It could mean that you’re seeking approval from someone in charge. For example, you may want to be approved to work on a specific task or you want a promotion.”

You may find it helpful to record your dreams to try to pick up on themes, says Kobil.

“Check in with yourself and ask what this dream feels like it’s trying to tell you,” she says. “Journaling about dreams can be a good way to understand their meanings.”

If possible, Kobil invites you to explore these questions:

  • Am I having romantic feelings I can’t act on?
  • Does sex represent another feeling or need?
  • Am I uncomfortable with the boundaries in my relationship with my boss?

Probably not, as dreams are a natural part of life, says Lee.

“Dreams tend to take their own course of action,” Lee says. “We may not be able to stop them, but we may be able to calm them by engaging in self-care such as exercise, mindfulness, healthy eating habits, and psychotherapy.”

Lee also recommends trying to “practice proper sleep hygiene such as sleep meditations before bed and going to bed at a consistent time each evening.”

Dreams are usually nothing to worry about. But if they’re distressing, disturbing, or interfering with your daily life, you may find it helpful to work with a mental health professional who specializes in dream work.

If you suspect your dreams may be rooted in a history of trauma, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can help.

Sex dreams are natural and common.

A sex dream with your boss can mean many things, and it will be different for everyone. You may find it useful to interpret your dreams by journaling or working with a mental health professional.

There are several books that may also be helpful. Kobil and Phillips recommend the following: